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This post was originally published on Feb 4, 2014, and updated on Dec 2015.
Smart businesses know that social media is a power to be reckoned with: social media channels create a direct line of communication between your company and consumers, and they give anyone with an Internet connection instant access to the latest buzz around your products or services.
But social media managers have a million balls to juggle at once, so using that direct line of communication effectively can be a major achievement. The good news is that as social media has grown up, so have the tools that are available to help you master it.
Here are 15 of our favorite social media tools for saving time, getting better results, and making the most of every single social interaction.
The 16 tools below will help you and your social media manager take on the complexity of the job.
This free, easy-to-use Twitter management tool allows you to oversee all aspects of your Twitter account(s) in one interface.
One of the frustrations of managing multiple Twitter accounts is the need to log in and out any time you need to review content, respond to messages, or read tweets. Tweet Deck is the easy way around this daily headache.
With this tool, you are able to connect multiple Twitter accounts, customize what you want to see, organize your feeds, and even compose and schedule tweets. If there are multiple people collaborating on a single Twitter account, you can add team members without needing to give them the password to the account.
Considering TweetDeck is specifically tailored for Twitter, it may not be the best tool for those looking to simultaneously manage various social networks in one place. Nevertheless, it gives great deal of control over the intricacies of your Twitter profile, without the hassle of navigating across profiles.
Hootsuite takes it a step further and allows you to manage multiple social content streams from Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Foursquare and many more networks. Working across multiple networks with a social team can be difficult, and Hootsuite makes it possible for you and your team to delegate between responses to fans and followers, eliminating the stress of coordinating responses and potentially overlooking valued fans.
In the past, one of the biggest frustrations with Hootsuite was how it handled social media images. The good news is this issue is now fixed on Twitter, so scheduled posts will show up to four images directly in the feed. Another newer enhancement is Hootsuite’s ad beta, which helps you identify your best performing content on Facebook, and then helps you create ads to leverage that content for better performance.
- Free – Up to 3 social profiles + basic reports and scheduling.
- $9.99/month – Up to 50 social profiles, one additional team member, and advanced scheduling and reporting features.
- Enterprise (custom pricing) – Unlimited.
Like many of the other tools on this list, Sprout Social allows you to schedule updates to your social media accounts. However, there are a couple unique features that set Sprout Social apart. In addition to monitoring and managing multiple social networks, SproutSocial’s clean interface also delivers deeper analytics.
For example, Sprout gives you calculated engagement and influence scores, and if you’re using social media for customer support, it also measures your response time. You can even turn your messages into action items to create workflows or reminders surrounding your social activity–connecting the dots from the conversations happening online to real business.
Another perk is the ability to discover new people to connect with and systematically remove bad connections, using the Discovery tools.
- Deluxe: $59 per user/month – Manage up to 10 profiles, 5 brand keywords, smart inbox, scheduling, brand monitoring, and reports.
- Premium: $99 per user/month – Everything in Deluxe, plus up to 20 social media profiles. Also includes additional reporting and integration features.
- Team: $500/month – Everything in Premium, plus up to 30 social media profiles and 5 users. Also includes additional team management features and 24/7 support.
Yes we have tools, too! Even though we’re focused on creating great content, Google Analytics users can make sure they keep their eyes on the prize by signing up for our Google Analytics Report. Each week we’ll email you a custom infographic that gives you a snapshot of your website’s activity and performance.
It highlights where your wins came from and calls out where you’re dragging. Forward it to your boss and you’ll look like a total rockstar (as long as the numbers are good).
Many small businesses focus only on Facebook and Twitter, so the ability to manage other platforms isn’t top of mind. Crowdbooster helps streamline your social media activity so can you pay attention to what matters most.
While you can use it as a scheduling tool to post updates, the real advantage Crowdbooster comes in its ability to identify your most valuable and most active fans and followers so that you can interact with them directly. It also analyzes the data in order to recommend ideal posting times for both Facebook and Twitter.
- Bronze: $9/month – 1 Facebook page, 1 Twitter, 1 user with a limit of 50k fans and followers. Includes audience growth, reach, and engagement metrics, social media scheduler, email reports, and online support.
- Silver: $49/month – 10 social media accounts, 8 users, and unlimited fans and followers. Everything in the Bronze package, plus management for multiple users and priority email support.
- Gold: $119/month – 30 social media accounts, 30 users, unlimited fans and followers. Everything in the Silver package, plus a dedicated account manager.
Like some other tools on this list, AgoraPulse has a robust scheduling tool, but its strength lies in the inbox-like interface it uses to help you manage conversations on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
You can create filters to tag, flag, hide, or make assignments regarding content and followers. This can be useful for segmenting (by customers vs. non customers, for example), and making it easier to find existing conversations so you can build real relationships, even when stretched thin trying to cover several accounts.
The app also includes a badging system that makes it easier to alert you when an influencer or advocate has posted, as well clear analytics that can be exported as PowerPoint slides.
- Free for basic Facebook analytics
- Micro: $29/month – inbox, monitoring, and publishing for Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, includes 1 account.
- Small: $49/month – 2 accounts, plus some analytics.
- Medium: $99/month – 5 accounts, plus advanced reporting and user profiling.
- Large: $199/month – 10 accounts, plus other advanced features.
Although Facebook delivers detailed data about things like likes and reach, sorting through it to find insights can be a hassle. When push comes to shove, Facebook’s Edgerank algorithm does almost as much to determine your success as your own strong efforts. Edgerank Checker helps social media managers understand how their followers interact with each post by assigning it an Edgerank score and making recommendations to help future posts get into your followers’ newsfeeds. You can even monitor each post in real time.
Free – EdgeRank score, EdgeRank score over time graph
$15 per page/month – Real-time analysis, post grades, recommendations, negative feedback analyzer
If you’re already using great Facebook tools and have an understanding of your data, it’s time to take it to the next level. Visually has a great tool for admins to up their social game by visualizing the last 30 days of their Facebook Insights. Facebook Insights is impressive because your page’s performance literally materializes before your eyes. You can also download and print this report and share it with the rest of your team.
Buffer is a simple and effective tool for sharing content through Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+. It’s particularly useful for small businesses that don’t have the time or resources to update their social media channels regularly, but would still like to maintain a social presence. With Buffer, you can schedule bulk posts ahead of time in a queue. It also offers a number of extensions through Chrome, Firefox and Safari that make sharing what you find on the web that much easier. On the downside, Buffer falls short when it comes to monitoring discussions.
Free service – allows for 2 profiles and 10 updates in the queue for each profile
$10/month – unlimited updates and up to 12 profiles
Specific to Twitter, SocialBro provides insights to your analytics, suggestions for targeting and engagement, and also helps keep tabs on your key influencers and competitors. It works best when coupled with a scheduling tool like Buffer or Hootsuite, because it is geared less towards publishing content and more towards offering reports for marketers. With SocialBro’s integration of both Buffer and Hootsuite, you can import the optimized schedule to sync with your queue and use the results to adjust your engagement.
Free 15-day trial
$13.95/month – Up to 20,000 social contacts across 5 Twitter accounts and more
$39/month – Up to 50,000 social contacts across 15 Twitter accounts and more
$149/month – Up to 200,000 social contacts across 40 Twitter accounts and more
Enterprise – On demand
Postling is perfect for businesses looking to expand their reach across social networks. Keeping track of responses, brands and people, this tool sends a daily digest of your recent activity across Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Blogs, Yelp, YouTube and Flickr. One cool feature is tracking news every time your business or brand is mentioned on the web. With a click, you’ll be able to share that tweet or review.
$1 first 30 days – unlimited usage
$10/month after 30 days – manage up to 5 social media accounts/ additional accounts cost $3/month each
Previously known as Pinreach, Tailwind tracks activity across Pinterest about your company, products and competitors. Pinterest is often overlooked when discussing tools for social media management, but depending on your business, it might be the driving force in traffic, branding and revenue. In addition to the general reporting of growth and engagement, you can connect Google Analytics to track conversions and see which activity is most profitable.
Free – Limited profile and domain trends
$29/month – 90-day history archive, track 2 competitors, invite 2 collaborators, basic audience IQ and more
$99/month – 1-year history archive, track 5 competitors, invite 5 collaborators, advanced audience IQ and more
Enterprise (custom pricing) – Unlimited history archive, track unlimited competitors and more
13. Social Mention
Social Mention is a real-time social media search and analysis tool that scrapes user generated content across the internet for any given company, product, or search term. In a single stream, this tool will give you the most recent relevant results, metrics on unique authors, reach, frequency of mentions, sentiment and top keywords. This tool should be on every social media manager’s shortlist.
BuzzSumo is a tool that gives you social data on top performing content and influencers based on your search queries. By entering a topic, domain or specific keyword, your results will be nothing short of relevant. Filtering your search by time frame will show you the most shared content over time, which can give you insight to trends or help with generating ideas for your own content creation! With this tool, you can view who has shared a specific piece of content and create a list of influencers based on your interest. The pro plans allow you to closely monitor keywords, domains or authors by setting up alerts when new content is published. With great data readily available, this tool is one you’ll want to use frequently to stay on top of the latest buzz in your field.
$99/month – Ideal for small teams and content campaigns
$299/month – Designed for Agency teams to support multiple SEO and content marketing campaigns
$499+/month – Bespoke plans for brands and large agencies
Shoutlet is enterprise-level social media marketing software that aims to help companies understand their market, grow their social database and drive their business by creating a seamless platform that guides targeted campaigns through analytics. In addition to publisher and scheduling tools, the streamlined community management platform makes it easy to create custom workflows to make sure the needs of all customers and fans are being addressed. The advance features in this social management tool are every marketer’s dream come true.
Pricing: Request a demo
Oktopost focuses on building your brand’s online presence by delivering your content to targeted audiences. It helps you establish and manage your most valuable content, making sure your efforts add value to your marketing strategy. Used by B2B businesses, Oktopost places emphasis on tracking conversions and identifying which channels and messaging drive results. With the recent shutdown of Argyle Social, many of its B2B clients have flocked to Oktopost. Underscoring their focus on B2B engagement, Oktopost integrates with Marketo, Salesforce, Act-On and others, directly linking social media actions to the impact on sales. One thing that places Oktopost above other tools is its ability to monitor LinkedIn Groups as well as company pages. As a whole package, Oktopost qualifies and quantifies better leads for you and your business.
$9/month – Getting started with social marketing
$49/month – All the basics for social media marketing
$119/month – A comprehensive tool for social media marketers
$249/month – The definitive tool for social businesses
Need help with your social media content? Visit our marketplace to find out how we can help!
Stephanie Castillo is a digital marketing specialist at Visually. She has a bachelor’s degree in Anthropology and History of Art and Visual Culture from University of California, Santa Cruz. Follow her on Twitter: @StephanieIvania. Thanks also to Emeric and the AgoraPulse team for helping us update this article.